We all know how important solving your client’s problems and building relationships are to our businesses. If we are not able to solve a problem for our clients then we are basically a useless tool for them to use, Tweet This! ergo no business from that potential client. We must offer something that can ease their pain points, solve their problems, and help them move beyond these areas in their business so that they can be more successful, and if we are unable to build a relationship with them they will never grow to trust us and this will hinder any type of working relationship you have and you will not be successful in working together.
Solve Your Clients Problems
When you first meet with someone that may be a potential client what is your initial reaction to them. Do you go into sell, sell, sell mode or do you first observe, then probe to see what you can do to help them? A key component is understanding their needs, seeing it through their eyes if you can, and then coming up with solutions.
You do not have to be an expert in all businesses, but what you do need to do is be willing to learn as much as you can about their business so that you are able to figure out what it is that they really need. This is part of the growing pains process with all new clients. So, instead of sell, sell, sell … why not try to ask, ask, ask … Tweet This! I mean who is the expert in their industry. They are, right? So ask them the questions you need to ask so that you can better understand their needs.
They will be appreciative that you took the time to ask because many #SMB owners do not know where to begin or how to describe their needs.
i.e. I’m a #VirtualAssistant. A client comes to me and says I need administrative support … well that’s a pretty big phrase with a pretty big meaning and a different meaning to many people. I need to ask clarifying questions to learn what this means to them. I might actually start by actually asking them what does admin support mean to you? What does that look like to you? I might ask, if you could choose just 3 things which 3 things would you pick as your biggest pain? What 3 things really hinder you from being as productive as you’d like to be? This question usually triggers some ideas as the human mind immediately goes to the negative stuff in our life that we wish we could improve. The answers I receive to these questions will determine what I want to ask next.
Build That Relationship
#BuildingRelationships I think presents a huge challenge for many small business owners. I mean you know you need to network, and most likely are probably already doing that, but networking is not just about going out there and saying I’m so and so and I do XYZ for you, but it’s about getting to know people and their needs. Back to those needs again.
It’s okay, to learn a little about their personal life to. After all it is one part of the building blocks to creating a successful foundation in a relationship. I find it confusing when I run into people who think personal questions are off the table. I disagree. We are human and we need to connect with each other. Of course, common sense should be used when asking personal questions. But I think a great way to do this is to say something like, tell me more about yourself, so that you are not asking something they do not want to tell. This open ended question allows them to decide how much they want to share without feeling offended. Now you need to listen. Learning about them on a personal level will help you to decide if you are a good match and will help guide you knowing what their personality type is and how the best way to work with them might be.
The part that I struggle with is sharing TMI about my life, I’m a talker, and I’m not always sure where to draw the line and how much they really want to know. So keeping it to basics is probably a good idea on the first conversation unless something just really opens up and you know it’s okay to share more. This is especially challenging for me as I get nervous and or excited when I meet new people. Having all that nervous energy or excitement usually causes me to talk more. I have to really focus and work on this area as it’s more important that I listen rather than talk.
What kind of information is it okay to share? I think it’s okay to say things like, I’m married with children, or I’m divorced with 2 children, or I’m single with no children, whatever … a boy and a girl, they are my life and my why for doing what I do, or tell them what your why is for your business if it’s not family or children. I think that is great brief way to share just enough, but to also let them know your why this will help connect your passions to your business for them. It give them a little insight into who you are. Obviously, these are just cookie cutter responses. You can say what you want, it’s up to you how much you want to share and how you share it. The key is sharing something so that it opens the door to building trust.
Building relationships is simply about making that human connection. Of course you will want to expand this to your business eventually, but do you prefer to get to know someone first and then work with them or could you care less. I’ve found most people really want to connect, but some are afraid to cross that line from personal to business. It’s okay, to open yourself and allow yourself be a little vulnerable. This shows you are human, and makes you relateable.
What sort of door opening questions do you ask your newest connections? Please share them below.